He succumbed to natural at a hospital in Belgium where he was receiving treatment.
RDF has through a statement mourned his death and extended condolences to the bereaved family.
“The Rwanda Defence Force is deeply saddened by the untimely death of Gen (Rtd) Marcel Gatsinzi,” reads the statement in part.
“The Rwanda Defence Force extends its condolences and joins the family in grief during this sad moment. May his soul rest in peace,” adds the statement.
Gen Marcel Gatsinzi served in various leadership roles for the army and the country including serving as Rwanda’s Minister of Defence from 2002 to 2010, and as the Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs from 2010 to 2013.
Following his death, a source told IGIHE ‘that Gatsinzi was not critically ill’ but felt unhealthy and went to a hospital where he died shortly after arrival as doctors prepared to attend to him.
He has been living in Rwanda but traveled to Belgium for medical attention.
People who lived with him attest that he was a patriotic and honest man.
Gen Marcel Gatsinzi was born in Muhima, Nyarugenge District in 1948.
He attended Primary School at Sainte Famille and pursued secondary education at Saint André where he studied Latin and Science courses.
He later joined the military at the age of 20.
Gatsinzi spent two years undergoing military training at “Ecole Supérieure d’Officiers Militaires (ESM)” where he graduated with the rank of Lieutenant in 1970.
He served as an instructor, and attended different professional training in Belgium between 1971 and 1976 at “Institut Royale Supérieure de Défense”.
During the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Gtsinzi was at the rank of Colonel and was the commander of Non-Commissioned Officers School in Ngoma Commune, current Huye District.
Following the shooting down of former President Juvénal Habyarimana’s airplane on 6th April 1994, Gen Gatsinzi was named Defence Chief Staff replacing Gen Maj Augustin Nsabimana who died with Habyarimana.
He assumed the duties for ten days before dismissal by the then interim government and was replaced by Col Augustin Bizimungu.
By the time RPA soldiers captured Kigali, Gatsinzi had the rank of Brigadier General and was living in Kigeme camp along with other soldiers.
He left the camp for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through Rusizi.
Gatsinzi stayed in DRC for one month before returning to Rwanda where he joined RDF. Upon joining the army, he was given the rank of Colonel.
Gatsinzi served as the Deputy Army Chief of Staff, Commander of Military Police and Headed the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS).
He held the rank of Major General at the time.
In 2004, Gatsinzi was promoted to General and became the first soldier to rise to to the rank.
He served as the Minister of Defence between 2022 and 2010.
In October 2013, Gen Gatsinzi was sent to retirement along with five other generals.
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